Thank you!

Thank you for all the support you've given the Climbing Rose Young Adult line of The Wild Rose Press. Our stories are still available on The Wild Rose Press website, however, since we aren't publishing new stories, our blog is no longer active. We thank you again for the time you spent with us and invite you to visit our Climbing Rose bookstore.

Cool Stuff for Monday

We've had some interesting new at Climbing Rose in the last few days (not all of it good, unfortunately) but some of it fab--like Christine Marciniak's near miss with oil-soaked boxes of When Mike Kissed Emma and Laurie Larsen's hugely successful book signing for The Chronicles of Casey V.

So maybe it's appropriate for us, in the midst of our good and bad news, to pause for a moment to celebrate...wait for it...Zombie Week!

Yep, the folks at vvb32 reads are bringing us all things zombie for the week of August 29 through September 6. Who wouldn't love that? Got a favorite zombie movie or book? Pop on over and tell them about it. And leave me a comment too--what's your favorite zombie-filled book or movie? (Personally, I'll go with the classic Night of the Living Dead, it's both disturbing and hilarious!)

Casey V booksigning!

Hi everyone! Wanted to share a few great pics from my booksigning/launch party for The Chronicles of Casey V last weekend at my local Barnes and Noble. The signing was on Sunday afternoon at 1:30. I arrived at 1:20 because I hate waiting around getting nervous. So I breezed in and immediately relaxed when I saw a bunch of people I knew. WHEW.

One of my friends got me a big drink from the cafe, I laid out all my promo items and the Community Relations Manager introduced me. I told a little bit about the story, the characters, and a little about the editorial process. I read a scene from the book and took questions. Then, the line started. I signed books for an hour straight and then I ran out of books. I sold out!

It was a mountaintop experience!

Laurie Larsen

Thursday Link Up

What are Climbing Rose authors talking about this week?
Laurie J. Edwards is wondering about crossing the Bridge of No Return. Sounds scary, Laurie--but I know it will work out!

Christine Marciniak is featuring pictures from her fab vacation to Jamestown and also has a link to P.J. Hoover's Roots in Myth blog where they hosted her for an interview and a giveaway of When Mike Kissed Emma.

To celebrate next year's release of The Stillburrow Crush, Linda Kage is featuring a free read on her website: Bad Boys Don't Play Hero. Go check it out to get a sample of this fab new author's work.

And finally, out in the ever-growing YA blogosphere, Booking through Thursday--a weekly meme about (mostly) books and reading--is asking what's the lightest, most "fluff" kind of book you've read recently? Got an opinion? Click on over and join the conversation!

More from Baiji author Nancy Lindley-Gauthier

Nancy Lindley-Gauthier, fab author of our Waiting on Wednesday feature Spinning the Baiji, just sent me this note:

How exciting is it to see Spinning the Baiji at the top of the Climbing Rose Coming Soon page! The Three Gorges dam, closing off the Yangtze River, is changing the lifestyles of people, and impacting a number of creatures. Culture, myth, and magic all collide in this well as celebration of love. A lyrical, older, more exotic world-sense infuses this quite contemporary tale. Lin's love must be enough to surpass... oh but that would be telling!

Did the Baiji truly leave us? If they have, they've still left us with some magic ---their cousins, the Boto. In the depths of the Amazon, the Boto don't long to escape to another world...they put on an wide-brimmed hat, and walk among us. Perhaps, these enchanted creatures will be able to change our world...

For a fun, short & summer-y read available right now, try Periwinkle Way... and look for Spinning the Baiji on October 7th!

Sounds wonderful, doesn't it? Thanks for the extra info, Nancy!

Waiting on Wednesday

Today, I'm featuring our next Climbing Rose release, Spinning the Baiji by Nancy Lindley-Gauthier. Cool cover, right? But what's a Baiji? It's a freshwater dolphin found only in the Yangtze River in China. How awesome is that? Here's the scoop on Nancy's story:

Lin Li has no memory of a time before she loved SunLee. He is an old-fashioned sort of man, practicing tai chi and communing with the river creatures as in times of old. She knows he is promised to another, still, she secretly shares his dawns. She wishes to stop time and stay forever on the leaf-spattered trail where their lives entwine.

The day approaches when the mighty Yangtze River's current will still, and the finest things in her life must end. Her love for SunLee, like the unimaginable beauty of the Yangtze lotus, will fall away to no more than myth.

Sorrow brings her the last of the baiji. The magic of the white river dolphin offers her a lyrical world of love, but perhaps, not her one love...

Spinning the Baiji comes out October 7. In the meantime, check out our other awesome authors and novels in our Climbing Rose store.

(Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly event hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine)

Trailer Tuesday

Check out this trailer for Bonnie Doerr's upcoming release, Island Sting.

Looks pretty inviting, huh? Don't forget to check out Bonnie's YouTube channel and her Green Blog. Island Sting comes out next January.

Cool Stuff for Monday

Climbing Rose authors have been getting lots of attention and great reviews lately (of course!). Here's a snapshot:

Christine Marciniak got a rave review for her newly released book, When Mike Kissed Emma, when she sat down to chat with Sarah Rettger for her Archimedes Forgets blog;

Christine also got a fab review from Beth Revis at her writing it out blog

And Christine was also featured in La Femme Readers IMM (In My Mailbox) feature. Very cool!

And fab reviews for Chronicles of Casey V. (4.5 out of 5 stars at Night Owl Romance); "Fantastic" rating for Enter the Parrot at Between the Lines; a 4 out of 5 hearts review for Krysta's Curse at The Romance Studio and a 5 out of 5 rating at Night Owl Romance; and finally, Summer Lovin' got a 4.5 out of 5 book rating at Long and Short Romance Reviews.

Awesome stuff! We think our Climbing Rose titles are pretty cool--good to know others do too!

Those Magical Changes

Christine Marciniak, author of this week's red-hot release, When Mike Kissed Emma, is blooging with us again and talking about her dreams and her realities. Take it away, Christine:

I’ve long dreamt of being a published author. When I was twelve I had ambitions of being the youngest best selling author in America. Well, that boat sailed without me on it. But the dream persisted and now I am a published author.

The thing is, I figured that by the time I was a published author I’d have lost those pesky ten pounds, that my wardrobe would be a little more stylish, that my dining room table could be used for dining, without having to sort and organize a month’s worth of stuff.

Dinner doesn’t make itself, the laundry still piles up, and the kids aren’t any more obedient. Wasn’t my life supposed to change in wonderful and magical ways when I became a published author? No? Oh. I guess I didn’t get that memo.

But of course the pay-off is big. I’ve gotten to hold my book in my hands. I’ve gotten to see it held in other people’s hands and there was a special light in my daughter’s eye when she sat down to read a book her mom had written.

So, when do all the magical changes happen? Is it the second book? Anyone know? Or maybe (just maybe) I need to exercise more, and you know, clean the house.

Thanks so much for hanging out with us this week, Christine. We'll be looking forward to that next book!

Christine Marciniak on: Opening the Box!

Today, author Christine Marciniak is telling us all about what happened when she opened the box! Take it away, Christine:

I was waiting. Eagerly. Anxiously. Waiting for the UPS truck to come and deliver my author copies of my new book When Mike Kissed Emma. I wanted to hold it in my hand and savor the moment. I wanted my family gathered around and perhaps my husband could take pictures while I (dressed stylishly, of course) in my immaculately clean house (so you’d think maybe I’d clean a bit while waiting, huh?) would open my box of books.

I would gaze lovingly at the pristine copies of my debut novel.

My children would ooh and ahh.

It would be a true Hallmark moment.

And so I waited for the UPS truck to come. And I waited. And waited.

And then I saw the truck—driving right past our house.

Ahem. That truck had my books on it. It said so right on the tracking website. But all was not lost. The truck stopped two houses down. He must just have misread the address (or as we discovered later, hoped to make a quick get-away without being noticed).

I went outside to meet him.

“What’s in the box?” He asked.

“Books,” I answered proudly. “My books.”

“Oh.” He wasn’t terrible impressed that they were my books and he looked slightly concerned. “You see there was a box that leaked,” he began. My heart beat faster with panic as he showed me my box. “And coconut oil got all over your box.”


I didn’t actually scream. You should be very proud of my self-restraint.

Instead I went into the house and got scissors so we could open the box and see if there was any damage. The UPS guy put the box on the steps, I handed him the scissors and he cut apart the shipping tape. He opened the box.

And the oil had NOT seeped through the box, all the damage was simply on the outside. With a sigh of relief he handed me back my scissors and was on his way. I took the opened box inside to my waiting family.

Wait! What happened to savoring the moment and having the picture of my first glimpse of my new book (I wasn’t even dressed stylishly)?

Oh well, if all had gone according to plan, I would have had some great pictures, but no story to tell!
That is a great story, Christine! Thanks for sharing your big moment with all of us!

Release Day for When Mike Kissed Emma

We're celebrating the release of When Mike Kissed Emma today! Author Christine Marciniak is understandably excited:

The big day is here! The official release date of When Mike Kissed Emma. My book’s birthday!

To celebrate here’s the trailer:

Countdown for WMKE - That Magical First Kiss

We're counting down to the release of When Mike Kissed Emma, and today author Christine Marciniak is giving us her thoughts on that all-important first kiss!
When Prince Charming kissed Snow White she woke from her death-like sleep and knew that she had found true love.

When Prince Charming kissed Sleeping Beauty, she woke from her death-like sleep and knew that she had found true love.

When Prince Charming kissed Cinderella – wait, did they actually kiss or did she just fit the shoe?

You know what I’m noticing here? Prince Charming really gets around.

But also that a kiss has long been regarded as something magical.

And, while there’s no magic involved in When Mike Kissed Emma, there is a kiss (I’m not really giving any secrets away by mentioning that.) Since this isn’t a fairy tale, there isn’t that instant recognition that they are destined to be together for life. But it does make them look at each other in a new way.

Because in their own ways first kisses are magical. They make your heart beat faster and maybe make your palms sweat. They can make your insides swoop around like a butterfly coming in for a landing.

There’s that moment right before you kiss, when you realize it’s going to happen and your heart beats wildly in anticipation. And the moment when it ends and you wish it could have lasted forever.

So think about your first kiss with that special someone and then read When Mike Kissed Emma to find out what did happen when Mike kissed Emma.
*sigh* How romantic is that? When Mike Kissed Emma releases tomorrow--don't forget to pick up a copy!

Countdown for WMKE - In the Beginning

OK, WMKE sounds like a radio station, I know, but it's really When Mike Kissed Emma which is an awesome title for a book but way too long for a blog post title! Anyway, Christine Marciniak, author of WMKE, is off on a fab vacation this week, so I'll be posting her thoughts as we countdown to the release of WMKE on Friday. So here's her take on how WMKE got started:

I very clearly remember the day I started writing the story. It was October of my freshman year of high school, a Wednesday I think. A friend had come home from school with me, but her mother had picked her up. I went inside and sat on the orange sofa in our family room and picked up a piece of paper and a clipboard. Then with my Eraser-mate pen, Brady Bunch playing in the background, I wrote the first sentence.
“More kids were trickling into the brick building.”

It was a story about a girl at a boarding school. The girl’s name was Casey and she was (in my own words) “extremely rich, extremely pretty, and extremely friendly.”

During the course of the story Casey rescued a small child from a burning building and was temporarily blinded. She got better.

The story ran about thirty pages. I typed it up and showed it to my friends. And to a person they all said. “It can’t end there. That’s not a good place to end the story.”

(I can’t find the original short story so I don’t recall exactly what was so horrible about the ending)

So, I didn’t end it there. I kept writing—all through high school. I graduated and so did Casey.

The story went through many (and I mean many) permutations until one day, many years later, I was working on a version that involved a love triangle with Casey (now called Meg) and her ex-boyfriend and a new boyfriend and it all centered around the school play.

A friend of mine—the same one who had been at my house the day I started the story—said to me “Don’t kill me, but I think you can take out this whole triangle thing and have a separate story—it’s more than just a subplot—it can be its own book.”

She’s a very smart friend. She even pulled the scenes out and put them all together in one document so I could see what she meant. I changed the character’s names and Meg became Emma and Jim became Mike and I changed a few other things around as well. My friend read it and suggested I call it When Mike Kissed Emma.

And I did.

Great story, Christine! I can't wait for everybody to read WMKE!

Chatting with Christine Marciniak

Today I'm chatting with Christine Marciniak, author of this week's Climbing Rose release, When Mike Kissed Emma.
Emma Landon has a plan: she's going to be in the high school musical and sing the most romantic song possible to her boyfriend. She's not looking for the lead, just a decent part where she and Trevor can dance together on stage. The plan starts to unravel when she gets the starring role, and playing opposite her is not her perfect boyfriend, but the school loner, Biker Mike. When Mike kisses Emma at the school dance, everything changes. Emma must figure ut what is more important—the way things look or something deeper.
Welcome to the blog, Christine! I know what a busy, exciting week this is for you with your book releasing, so thanks for taking the time to chat. Can you tell us about your heroine, Emma?

Emma is full of confidence, maybe a little too much. She’s got the world figured out and she knows where she stands in it. Or at least she thinks she does. She’s a junior in high school who has had good roles in the school musicals and fully expects to get a good role in the next one as well (although she assumes the lead will go to a senior). She has a boyfriend who also has been in the musicals and he writes her poetry and is generally just what she thinks she likes in a boyfriend.
Were you ever in your high school musical?

I was not in one of my high school musicals. I was in the Eighth Grade Production at my middle school – with a small featured part, but no musical solo. Freshman year of high school I tried out for the play (The Sound of Music) and did not get a part. I was discouraged and didn’t try out again other years (I didn’t have nearly the confidence Emma does). I did work back stage on the musicals for most of high school though – so although I wasn’t acting in them, I was a part of the action.

I have a lot of great memories from working on the crew of the plays, everyone – cast and crew tended to get very close. And of course being on the crew is a lot more laid back than in the cast – no lines to memorize and when you go on stage to change scenes it’s generally dark. I enjoyed being a behind the scenes kind of person.
You dedicated the book to Adrian because when he kissed you everything changed - you know you have to tell us about that!
Let me start by saying that Adrian is my husband. We’ve been married now for 15 years. We met in college and were friends for about a year and half before we started dating. We were not two people that anyone could really see getting together, in fact when we did, the news was met by shocked disbelief by many of our friends. But then, one day, we kissed – and the rest is history.
Why do you want to write YA?

Teens are figuring out who they are and what their place is in the world. I like writing about that.
What kind of books did you like reading when you were a teenager?

I had a tendency to like realistic-type fiction, I was never much into mysteries or fantasy (with the notable of Anne McCaffrey’s Pern series and anything to do with Camelot). I also really enjoyed Jean Auel’s Clan of the Cave Bear and the sequels and The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy books by Douglas Adams. More YA-centered books I read included The Keeping Days series by Norma Johnston, the Canby Hall series by Emily Chase.
When a reader finishes a book by Christine Marciniak, what do you hope she takes away from it?
I’d like a reader to finish the book and feel that she was able to inhabit a different world for awhile. I’d hope she’d feel like the characters had become. I don’t write books that have any particular message or agenda other than it’s important to be true to yourself.
Thanks so much for stopping by, Christine. And thanks for being our guest blogger this week--I know everyone's looking forward to your posts...and of course, to the release of When Mike Kissed Emma!

My First Real Book Signing

We're getting ready to go to a friend's house for her daughter's birthday party, so I don't have time to upload photos from my first real booksigning, but suffice it to say, I had a wonderful time. Not a lot of folks came, but I did sell six copies of my books! That is a really fantastic sensation, actually putting pen to paper and signing your name to the title page of your book. And then, after I got home, I went to The Wild Rose Press main page and there's my book on the front! Yipeeeeee!
My husband was hard at work on my website today; he has inserted links from my webpage to the selling page on The Wild Rose Press for my book. Clever, clever husband. The friend who hosted this book signing for me runs a local coffee-shop. Bless her heart, I think she was disappointed that more people didn't show up, but I was pleased. And now I'm going to drive around town with my box of books in the 'boot' of my Bug, and any time a friend says, "Oh, I would love to buy a copy of your book," I will whip a book out! Ha ha ha!

My Lovely Summer Garden

This is another close-up shot of one of my mammoth sunflowers, and as you can see, the bees are busily working away. I've never been stung by a bee, thank goodness. And I don't know where these little guys come from, but once the sunflowers bloom, the bees arrive.

The tomatoes in the vegetable garden are yielding forth a great abundance. When I came home from my swim today, I ate three large tomatoes with a sprinkling of salt. Delicious.

A friend dropped by the house today and I signed my very first book! Another good friend of mine, who owns a coffee shop in town, is hosting my first book signing tomorrow afternoon, from 2 to 4. I'm excited and a little bit nervous about it, all at the same time.

This is what I mean about the sunflowers growing so heavy, they practically keel over. The stalk will remain upright, but the upper part of the stalk falls over as the sunflower grows heavy.

Sunflowers Fading, but Holding Fast

Unfortunately, my beautiful sunflowers are starting to fade. They reach a point where they achieve a pinnacle of height, and then the sunflower, being so heavy, starts to droop on the stalk. This first photo, at left, is the patch of mammoth sunflowers that I planted in the front small garden. The close up of the sunflower in the photo below, is what a sunflower looks like after the bees finish with it and after the birds have plucked out its seeds.

This is a close-up (below) of a smaller type of sunflower. It's still blooming and, because the flower is not massive, it will not cause the stalk to droop.

I am lucky in that rabbits and deer don't eat my sunflowers up, but the only negative about living in a village area is the fact that people will walk by and tear off flowers. Someone tore one of my mammoth sunflowers off its stalk the other day, so all I have left is an enormous stalk and no sunflower.

And this last one (for today) shows a sunflower drooping. Again, all these photos were taken from the front view of the house. Tomorrow I will show you the sunflowers in the side garden.

How Does My Garden Grow?

Here are two photos of one of my mammoth sunflowers, located at the side of the house. Amazingly enough, this particular sunflower arrived early; it was a seed left over from last year that didn't bloom. It waited until this year to bloom early. This has never happened to me before. Sunflowers are annuals and don't normally bloom a year later, but this one did. It bloomed before the ones that I planted in the early summer.

This is a close-up shot of the same sunflower. I adore my sunflowers; they are all over the front patch of ground in front of my house, in the small patch to the side, and in the long patch running alongside my house. I planted a lot of different varieties this year; some of the sunflowers are quite small, with short petals and big centers. I also have a lovely batch of darkish red/brown sunflowers with nearly black centers. They are truly unique and not at all what you would expect to see in a sunflower. I'll share some photos of those sunflowers tomorrow.

The flower here is contained in the small patch to the side. We also installed a vegetable garden this year, and the tomatoes are bursting out! I particularly love the cherry tomatoes; they go so beautifully in a crisp green salad.
Gardens take a lot of work, and they take a number of years to develop. We moved into our house a long time ago, and the garden has been evolving over these many years. Every autumn, I buy several bags of tulip bulbs and send my kids outside to plant them. As long as they don't get planted in the yard (the tulips, not the children), my husband doesn't care where they get planted. One year, I did plant bulbs in the yard, because I thought it would be 'nice' to have bulbs popping up all over the yard. It annoyed my husband no end, because he does the mowing, and he got frustrated with having to avoid the tulip stalks. So no bulbs in the yard.

The Day my Books Arrived . . .

This is a photograph of me holding the first book in the box of my shipment. There is another photo of me holding the entire box of books. I'm a goof. This really is a big, huge deal to me and I know I've talked about this before, but I've been writing for a long, long time! What's so ironic is the fact that this is a fun, lighthearted book, but there is nothing lighthearted about the work that goes into editing a novel and whipping it into shape. It's so true of anything to do with the arts. Once I've finished watching a film on the DVD, if I really liked the film, I'll watch it again, with commentary. And even with comedies that have really silly moments, there's a lot of angst going on behind the scenes.

Never Give Up! Never Give Up! Never Give Up!

Kudos to Sir Winston Churchill, who uttered those immortal words following World War II. Granted, he was talking about how the Allies won the war, but it's become a mantra for me, over the years, about writing. While preparing to write today's blog, I looked through my "master list of submissions" for House of Wacks, to write today's blog, and I was sending out queries as far back as January 9 of 2005, and getting heaps of rejection. I got a total of 28 rejections for House of Wacks. By the end of 2006, I'd pretty much set the manuscript aside. I'd given up, on that particular story, for the time being. About a year later, though, a lady from my church called me up out of the blue. I'd given a copy of House of Wacks to her daughter-in-law, who also happens to be a friend of mine. Gail then gave the book to her mother-in-law, and she read it and called me to say that I should get it published. This happened in August of 2007.

I'd just finished the final galley edits to my first published novel, an erotica. The erotica got published in October of 2007. And during that summer of 2007, I'd written another erotica, but with Nancy's encouragement, I sent House of Wacks out again. This time I sent it to The Wild Rose Press, and the person to whom I sent it was Lori Graham. My master list shows that I sent it to her on September 16, 2007. Lori gave me notes and I re-edited House of Wacks, then sent it back out to her. My last note on the submission list states that Lori was reviewing a requested full on November 5, 2007. Then I made the sale, and it was my second book sale. Lori later assigned me to Kat O'Shea, who worked with me all through 2008 to get the manuscript into good shape.

How it Feels to Open your First Box of Author Books!

Hello, everyone! I hope you're all having a lovely Saturday! I pre-ordered my author copies of House of Wacks on July 28, and after obsessively following the tracking schedule for UPS, my books arrived on August 7 at 11:45 a.m. God, was I thrilled!
When RJ advised that my author copies were available for order, I checked with my husband to see if he was okay with me ordering twenty to start, and he said that I could order thirty copies. Money's been a little tight this summer, and I'd been thinking I would start with an order of twenty, but I was very pleased by his support. He basically said that we're going to need plenty of extra copies to give away to family members!
Both my mother-in-law and my mother read my books. My mother edits them, too.
Anyway, the UPS guy arrived and I opened the front door. He said, "You must have been expecting me," and I grinned. He carried my box of books to me! Oh, my lovely, lovely box of books! I brought the box into my study and my hubby took out a pocket-knife to cut the tape. It was like opening an amazing present. My books were neatly stacked and supported on both sides by crumpled paper and a slat of cardboard down the middle. I took out only one copy and Doug (my husband) took a photo of me grinning like a maniac, holding my book, then he took another picture of me holding the box.
I have a writer friend who published a nonfiction book a few years ago on baseball. When his book of author books arrived, he wanted to be alone with them to savor the moment. I wanted my husband with me; due to his support, I've been able to become a published author.

Author Interview with Denise Gwen

Today, I'm chatting with Denise Gwen, author of the upcoming Climbing Rose release House of Wacks.
BLURB: Little did Jordan Meadows realize, when Dad insisted she get a job, it would turn out to be such an amazing summer! Who would have guessed that all her eyebrow, bikini, and leg waxes at Tranquility Spa would pay off as job experience? Working behind the scenes on the set of House of Wax IX: Return of the Revengenator, she becomes the go-to girl for paraffin wax. Then she meets Keith Charles, a band nerd at from her high school. Between draping his freckled arms with wax and making sure he looks extra clotty, she’s stunned to find herself falling in love with someone outside her own clique. As filming and the summer draw to a close, she’s a changed girl, for sure. She's made friends with people she never would have associated with at North High School, but what about her friends, the awesome foursome? Should she break up with Keith, since he’s not a member of her exclusive, inner circle? Or is it time to branch out and make new friends?
Thanks for stopping by, Denise. We're so excited about House of Wacks can you tell us a little bit about your heroine, Jordan?

I envisioned her, just the tiniest bit, as being similar to the Cher character played by Alicia Silverstone in the movie Clueless. She’s kind of spoiled—well, maybe a lot spoiled—but she knows she’s spoiled, and she’s also genuinely a nice, caring person. And she is smart enough and tuned into the world enough to know that it may be time to grow up a little and make friends outside of her cliquey inner circle.
What kind of summer jobs did you have as a teenager? Any exciting adventures to relate?

My dad, a psychiatrist, actively discouraged me from working during my teen years. He felt that it was more important to focus on studies than to get an after-school job, although I doubt that I could have found the time anyway, because I was so active in swimming, gymnastics, dancing, and piano (!!). The summer I turned fifteen, though, I got a full-time coaching job at Jim Brown’s Gymnastics Camp, teaching gymnastics to little girls. I worked for Mr. Brown during my summers in high school.

In college (I attended IU Bloomington), I finally got to the point that I felt so guilty for taking money from my dad, that I got a job at the McDonald’s in the College Mall. The uniforms were gross, made of 100% polyester. Whenever I took a bag of trash out to the dumpster, my skin crawled from the sensation of that polyester fabric
burning right through me in the blistering hot sun. I lasted there about three weeks, then decided to try the Wendy’s across the street, on College Mall Road. The uniforms were better and I could wear my own pants, as long as they were blue.

I worked at Wendy’s, off-and-on, part-time for the duration of college. I made the mistake of telling Randy Martin, my boss, that I ‘enjoyed’ working the salad bar, and that’s where I got assigned every day; that, and cleaning up the tables in the dining room. During the lunch-hour, I used to get sent out to the line of customers to take pre-orders. As customers studied the menu, trying to decide what they wanted, their mouths would salivate. I watched, fascinated.

Working at Wendy’s was probably my first real experience with being expected to behave like an adult. At an employee meeting early one morning, Randy said that we should try to arrive at work at least five minutes before our shift started, as opposed to running in the door at five minutes past the hour. That really stuck with me.

The summer I turned twenty, in addition to working at Wendy’s, I also landed a part-time lifeguarding job out at Shawnee Bluffs, an IU alumni camp located on Lake Monroe. Then I got hired on at the IU Outdoor Pool to finish out the summer season. One night, my dad turned to my mother and said, in a voice filled with surprise, “Denise hasn’t asked for money recently.”
You dedicated the book to your dad, how much did he influence your desire to be a writer?
Ironically enough, my dad wasn’t really into reading fiction. He was much more interested in reading The Wall Street Journal and his medical journals. He loved
facts and history. One summer, when I was about ten, he drove me all the way from Bloomington to Crawfordsville, Indiana, for an all-day swim meet. Well, we got to the pool, but nobody was there! We looked more closely at the notice and realized that we’d arrived a week early. My dad called my grandfather, who lived in nearby Ladoga, and Grandpa drove over to Crawfordsville to meet us. We toured the Lewis “Lew” Wallace Museum. Lew Wallace was one of Ulysses S. Grant’s generals during the American Civil War, and he also happened to be the man who wrote Ben Hur. Daddy was very impressed by that. Wherever we went, be it a family vacation, a weekend jaunt, or a trip to the farm, Daddy always wanted us to learn something. In his final years, when he was confined to the house, I got him a subscription to The Wall Street Journal. It was the best gift I ever gave him. He told me he read that newspaper cover to cover.
Although my dad did once refer to my writing as a ‘hobby’ (and only my dad could get away with referring to my writing as a hobby), he was incredibly supportive of my dream to become a published writer. It pains me no end that he had passed away by the time I finally sold my first novel. I would have loved to have shared that good news with him.
Why do you want to write YA?

I feel that YA is a particularly good fit for me. I believe that all writers fit into certain niches, areas in which they shine or have a unique gift or talent for writing. After my success in landing a contract with The Wild Rose Press for House of Wacks, I wrote a number of other YA manuscripts, stories that mean a lot to me and which I hope to see published. As Flannery O’Connor would say, it is the nature of my talent. Or words to that effect.
What kind of books did you like reading when you were a teenager?
One night when I was thirteen, my mother kept me up half the night describing for me the joys of Jane Austen’s Emma. I dutifully read Emma, but didn’t fall in love with Jane Austen, not at that moment, in any event. You have to be a girl of a certain age to enjoy Emma. Then I read Pride and Prejudice and I was hooked. I worked my way through everything Jane Austen ever wrote, including The Watsons and Sanditon.

My mom also introduced me to Georgette Heyer. I adored her lovely, light Regency romances. I also enjoyed Agatha Christie mysteries tremendously. Our family room had built-in shelving and basically resembled a bookstore. I read whatever I could get my hands on.

Unfortunately, as a teenager, there were so many books I had to read for English class, that I didn’t always get to read that much solely for pleasure. For class reading, I really did enjoy David Copperfield, Lord of the Flies, Animal Farm, The Grapes of Wrath and The Pearl.
When a reader finishes a book by Denise Gwen, what do you hope she takes away from it?

I hope, first and foremost, that my reader enjoys the story. If she learns something from it, well, that would be great, but it’s not required! Even my dad understood that sometimes people read novels simply for the pleasure of reading.
Thanks so much for stopping by, Denise. I know everyone will snag a copy of House of Wacks when it comes out next Friday. And be sure to check in with Denise next week when she's our guest blogger!

Thursday Link Up

What are Climbing Rose authors talking about this week?

Well, Christine Marciniak is in 7th heaven over her upcoming release When Mike Kissed Emma which is already grabbing fab reviews and getting Christine all kinds of attention:
And Beth at Writing it Out has decided to dedicate part of her blog week to me. How cool is that? Today she reprises an interview she did with me earlier in the year and features my book trailer. Tomorrow she'll post her review of When Mike Kissed Emma. And on Friday she will post an updated interview - featuring questions posed by commenters. So if you have a question you want to see me answer, go put it in Beth's comments.

Laurie J. Edwards is blogging about her amazing trip to Korea:
Talk about crazy… Bjorn and I arrived at Mt. Halla to see the now defunct volcano with no food or water. And I was in flip-flops.

The Wolfy Chicks, Kitty Keswick and Judith Graves, are talking about...yikes, silver!
Since we're the Wolfy Chicks and we write about the furry beasts...I thought it would be fun to discuss a little bit of werewolf lore...Silver and the Werewolf

And finally, take a look at Denise Gwen's cool website. Tomorrow I'll be posting an interview with Denise and next week she'll be taking over the blog to celebrate the release of House of Wacks.

Great review (already!) for When Mike Kissed Emma

When Mike Kissed Emma, by Christine Marciniak doesn't even officially release until August 19 and it's already getting rave reviews:

An enjoyable read for teens, WHEN MIKE KISSED EMMA follows a group of friends as they settle into their roles for the high-school play. Author Christine Marciniak captures the humor and drama of everyday life in high school. The characters and dialogue were very well done.
You can also follow Christine's countdown to her release on her blog and on Twitter. And even better, When Mike Kissed Emma is available as an early-bird special for August in the TWRP Print Store.

Emma Landon has a plan: she's going to be in the high school musical and sing the most romantic song possible to her boyfriend. She's not looking for the lead, just a decent part where she and Trevor can dance together on stage. The plan starts to unravel when she gets the starring role, and playing opposite her is not her perfect boyfriend, but the school loner, Biker Mike. When Mike kisses Emma at the school dance, everything changes. Emma must figure out what is more important—the way things look or something deeper.

Great review for Krysta's Curse

Krysta's Curse, the third book in the Whispers series by Tara West got a fab review from Night Owl Romance:
Ms. West outdid herself yet again with this third book in the Whispers series. I loved getting to know Krysta more personally in this story, which was solely dedicated to her and her special ability. Since she was introduced in the first two books of the series, by this book I felt as if she was an old friend to me. Ms. West knows how to write creatively for young adults and keeps her readers interested in the storyline from the start.
You can read the entire review here. And you can snag copies of all the books in the Whispers series (Book 1 - Sophie's Secret and Book 2 - Don't Tell Mother) in our Climbing Rose store.

Cool stuff for Monday

So, how many YA readers out there secretly (or not so secretly) want to be YA writers themselves? If so, here's a site you gotta check out:
Teens Writing for Teens is a community of young adult authors writing YA fiction. We're here to offer insight, encouragement and amusement as we live the lives of young novelists and deal with that ever-popular question, "So...aren't you a little young to write a book?"

It's a place to connect with other teens who are or want to be writers. Pretty cool, huh? You can also find the group on Facebook.